Work-related musculoskeletal disorders include a number of conditions that affect the joints, tendons, nerves, and muscles of the back, neck, and other parts of the body. If your job requires bodily reactions like twisting, reaching, climbing, bending, lifting, pushing, pulling, or other repetitive motions, you could develop a musculoskeletal disorder, which should be covered by workers’ compensation.
Examples of Musculoskeletal Disorders
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), work-related musculoskeletal disorders include:
When the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist is compressed or irritated by repetitive motions, the result can be tingling, pain, numbness, weakness, or atrophy of the wrist, hand, and fingers.
Many different rheumatic conditions affecting joints and connective tissue fall under the umbrella term arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout are specific examples. Although we generally associate arthritis with advanced age, the majority of cases occur in patients under 65. Those who work in construction, agriculture, mining, or the service industry are the most likely to experience the joint pain and weakness of arthritis due to repetitive kneeling, crawling, exposure to vibration, and working in awkward positions. One-third of working adults have arthritis-attributable work limitations.
Heavy lifting and other types of overexertion can cause part of an organ to protrude through a weakness or opening in a surrounding wall of muscle or fascia. Symptoms include swelling and pain or discomfort around the abdomen or groin. Some hernias require surgery.
Repetitive actions on the job can result in painful inflammation of the connective tissues between the bones and muscles of the hand, foot, knee, shoulder, or hip.
Sometimes called tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, this condition results from repetitive motions of the elbow joint. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness of the hand.
Torn rotator cuff.
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that keep the bone in your upper arm connected to your shoulder and allow you to lift and move your arms in different directions. Carpenters, painters, mechanics, and athletes over 40 frequently suffer from partial or complete degenerative rotator cuff tears brought on by years of repetitive motion on the job. A tear in your rotator cuff can also occur if you fall from a ladder or scaffolding and break your collarbone or dislocate your shoulder. Surgery is sometimes necessary to repair a painful and debilitating rotator cuff tear.
Repetitive motions of the hand can irritate tendons, sometimes causing a finger to get stuck temporarily in a bent position and have to be snapped back into place. Women, people with diabetes, and arthritis sufferers are most likely to develop this condition. Splints, medications, or surgery might be necessary to repair a trigger finger.
Chronic back pain.
Machine operators, general laborers, and production workers often suffer ongoing back and spinal pain due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
If you can prove that your musculoskeletal disorder resulted from or was aggravated by performing your job duties, you should be eligible for workers’ comp, but you might need the help of a lawyer to get fair benefits.
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance that most South Carolina businesses with more than four employees must carry. If you’re injured or become ill in the course of doing your job, workers’ comp reimburses your medical expenses and two-thirds of any wages you lose due to time off work. You don’t have to show proof that your employer negligently caused your injury or illness. Even if you’re responsible for your own condition, you may still file a claim for benefits, and your employer may not retaliate against you or fire you for doing so.
Because most musculoskeletal disorders develop over time, they’re likely to be categorized as occupational illnesses. While accidental injuries are often easy to prove because an accident and the injury it causes happen simultaneously (often with witnesses), claims for occupational illnesses that develop over time are more likely to be disputed or denied by your employer’s insurance company. The insurer might claim your musculoskeletal disorder was caused by a pre-existing condition or by circumstances that were not work-related. For this reason, the services of a workers’ comp lawyer are highly recommended in an occupational illness claim for workers’ comp benefits.
Have You Been Injured On The Job?
If you've been hurt at your job you can speak with a workers' compensation lawyer. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.